I know, I know….it’s been awhile since I’ve posted! I’ve been traveling and going to a bunch of professional librarian things, so this blog has honestly been the last thing on my mind. However, I finally have a few weeks to catch up and breathe, so I’m definitely going to turn my attention back here. First up: my wrap-up of books I read last month!
Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi
Rating: 1/5 Stars
Summary: After a year of college, Pablo is working at his local twenty-four-hour deli, selling overpriced snacks to brownstone yuppies. He’s dodging calls from the student loan office and he has no idea what his next move is. Leanna’s life so far has been nothing but success. Age eight: Former Disney Mouseketeer, ten #1 singles, and now life is a queasy blur of private planes, weird hotel rooms, and strangers asking for selfies on the street.
When Leanna and Pab randomly meet at 4 AM in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn, they both know they can’t be together forever. So, they keep things on the down-low and off Instagram for as long as they can. But it takes about three seconds before the world finds out…
Thoughts: Honestly the only positive I can give this book is the cover. I really really REALLY did not enjoy this one, and the only reason I finished it is because I basically hate-read the end 2/3rds of it in the hopes it would get better. Since I don’t believe in completely bashing a book (there’s a reader out there for any and all books), I’m gonna end my thoughts there.
Readalikes: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo, Jaya and Rasa by Sonia Patel, Night Music by Jenn Marie Thorne
Happy Marriage?! Vol. 4-6 by Maki Enjōji
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Summary: In order to help her father, Chiwa Takanashi agrees to an arranged marriage with the company president, Hokuto Mamiya—a man she doesn’t know—at the request of Hokuto’s grandfather. Maki Chiwa believes the arrangement isn’t binding, but her new partner seems to think otherwise. Can two strangers living together find their way to a happy marriage?!
Thoughts: I’ve continued this series from August and September, and I feel like it’s kind of stalling in the storyline as it goes on- there’s still tension from the fake dating/marriage aspect, but the slow burn isn’t burning enough for me bahaha. I’m definitely going to continue it in the future thought because I want to see what happens to these two!
Readalikes: Everyone’s Getting Married by Izumi Miyazono, Takane & Hana by Yuki Shiwasu, Last Game by Shinobu Amano
Daytime Shooting Star, Vol. 1 by Mika Yamamori
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Summary: After arriving in Tokyo to live with her uncle, Suzume collapses in a nearby park where she had once seen a shooting star during the day. A handsome stranger brings her to her new home and tells her they’ll meet again. Suzume starts her first day at her new high school sitting next to a boy who blushes furiously at her touch. And her homeroom teacher is none other than the handsome stranger!
Thoughts: Sooooo…having read only one volume, I’m not sure how I feel about this one. The whole girl in love with an adult thing feels ~kinda~ skeevy and I’m not really vibing with any of the characters, but this is a relatively new series so I’ll probably read another volume or two before I make a firm opinion about it.
Readalikes: Honey So Sweet by Amu Megaro, Ao Haru Ride by Io Sakisaka, Wolf Girl & Black Prince by Ayuko Hatta
The Way of the Househusband, Vol. 1 by Oono Kousuke
Rating: 2/5 Stars
Summary: A former yakuza legend leaves it all behind to become your everyday househusband. But it’s not easy to walk away from the gangster life, and what should be mundane household tasks are anything but!
He was the fiercest member of the yakuza, a man who left countless underworld legends in his wake. They called him “the Immortal Dragon.” But one day he walked away from it all to walk another path—the path of the househusband! The curtain rises on this cozy yakuza comedy!
Thoughts: Okay I picked this up on a whim, based on the description; how could your interests not be peaked by this?! However, I really didn’t love it. The sections seemed disjointed, the story lacking…this was my first non-romance manga though, so take my opinions with a grain of salt. I feel like this one had a lot of potential that was unfulfilled, and I won’t be grabbing the next volumes.
Readalikes: Honestly, I couldn’t really locate readalikes for this title…
Die, Vol. 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker by Kieron Gillen & Stephanie Hans
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Summary: The Wicked + The Divine writer Kieron Gillen teams up with artist supernova Stephanie Hans (WicDiv, Journey Into Mystery) for her first ongoing comic. Die is a pitch-black fantasy where a group of forty-something adults have to deal with the returning, unearthly horror they only just survived as teenage role-players. If Kieron’s in a rush, he describes it as “Goth Jumanji”, but that’s only the tip of this obsidian iceberg.
Thoughts: I’m going to be honest, I spent most of this title fairly confused; by the end, however, I was really into it! The art is really lush and transformative, and the story and characters were engrossing (how could people NOT have a crush on Dictator Ash???) I can’t wait til the next title. For those who love D&D and other LARP games, this volume would be a definite hit!
Readalikes: Monstress by Marjorie Liu, Black Science by Rick Remender, I Hate Fairyland by Skottie Young
Stage Dreams by Melanie Gillman
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Summary: In this rollicking queer western adventure, acclaimed cartoonist Melanie Gillman (Stonewall Award Honor Book As the Crow Flies) puts readers in the saddle alongside Flor and Grace, a Latinx outlaw and a trans runaway, as they team up to thwart a Confederate plot in the New Mexico Territory. When Flor–also known as the notorious Ghost Hawk–robs the stagecoach that Grace has used to escape her Georgia home, the first thing on her mind is ransom. But when the two get to talking about Flor’s plan to crash a Confederate gala and steal some crucial documents, Grace convinces Flor to let her join the heist.
Thoughts: I wasn’t the biggest fan of the art in this title, but it fit the genre and the feeling of the story! This was a cute, short inclusive story of the Wild Wild West, and I was sad to see this end. For those who love outlaw stories and female friendship, this title would be a definite winner.
Readalikes: All Out edited by Saundra Mitchell, The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang, Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden
Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir & Steenz
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Summary: The Logan Museum is a mysterious old building practically covered in skulls, and also the new workplace of Celeste “Cel” Walden, a librarian who was let go from her previous job after a mental breakdown. But Cel is desperate to feel useful, and Abayomi Abiola, the Logan Museum’s chief curator, is desperate to hire a new archivist.
Cel soon realizes the job is unlike any other she’s had. There’s an apartment onsite she’s required to live in, she only works in the middle of the night, and she definitely gets the impression that there’s more to the museum than Abayomi and her new boss, Holly Park are letting on.
And then strange things start happening. Odd noises. Objects moving. Vivid, terrifying dreams of a young woman Cel’s never met, but feels strangely drawn to. A woman who for some reason needs Cel’s help.
As Cel attempts to learn more about her, she begins losing time, misplacing things, passing out–there’s no denying the job is becoming dangerous. But Cel can’t let go of the woman in her dreams. Who is she? Why is she so fixated on Cel? And does Cel have the power to save herself?
Thoughts: Stories revolving around libraries and mental health?! Sign me up! This was a cute, yet dark story and the characters were so easy to fall in love with. I enjoyed this title, but there were some things I didn’t love so this wasn’t a perfect 5/5 for me. I recommend this to those who love ghost stories, accurate depictions of mental illness, and are library enthusiasts.
Readalikes: DeadEndia by Hamish Steele, Lost Soul, Be at Peace by Maggie Thrash, Kim Reaper, Vol. 1 by Sarah Graley
Good Talk: a Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Summary: “Who taught Michael Jackson to dance?”
“Is that how people really walk on the moon?”
“Is it bad to be brown?”
“Are white people afraid of brown people?”
Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob’s half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything. At first they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she’s gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love.
“How brown is too brown?”
“Can Indians be racist?”
“What does real love between really different people look like?”
Written with humor and vulnerability, this deeply relatable graphic memoir is a love letter to the art of conversation—and to the hope that hovers in our most difficult questions.
Thoughts: This book is so so SO needed in the world we find ourselves in. It helps readers confront the difficult topics and conversations in our country from someone who has had to have them her entire life, and now has to have them with her child. This is a great entry read for those who aren’t graphic novel readers, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone- thanks Kate (@kate_reads_) for the recommendation!
Readalikes: I Was Their American Dream by Malaka Gharib, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehesi Coates, German Calendar No December by Sylvia Ofili
This One Summer by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Summary: Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It’s a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.
In This One Summer two stellar creators redefine the teen graphic novel. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of her teen age—a story of renewal and revelation.
Thoughts: This is a quintessential coming-of-age story (one of my favorite genres), so I really loved this title. The characters were flawed, yet lovable, and the story handled difficult topics that teens and tweens are exposed to in an amazing way. I love the muted color palette of this book- it really lets the story come alive, and if you’re looking for a summer read this is a perfect pick. Mariko Tamaki is my newest must-buy/must-check out author and I can’t wait to see more of her work!
Readalikes: Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash, Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks, All Summer Long by Hope Larson
Bone Parish, Vol. 1 by Cullen Bunn, Jonas Scharf, & Alex Guimaraes
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Summary: A necromantic horror series about an upstart crime family trafficking in a new designer drug that’s just hit the market made from the ashes of the dead.
A new drug is sweeping through the streets of New Orleans—one made from the ashes of the dead. Wars are being fought over who will control the supply, and the demand is rising. While the various criminal factions collide, users begin to experience terrifying visions of the dead coming back to life…through them. Eisner Award-nominated author Cullen Bunn (Harrow County, The Empty Man) and illustrator Jonas Scharf team up for Bone Parish, a haunting blend of horror and crime that takes an unflinching look at how we connect to—and disconnect from—the world around us.
Thoughts: I’ll be the first to tell you that this was a weird story, but I absolutely loved it nonetheless! It was the perfect blend of science fiction, gorgeous art, social commentary, and strained family relationships to grab and hold me-cannot WAIT for the next volume (seriously y’all, release it ASAP!)
Readalikes: Preacher, Vol. 1 by Garth Ennis, The October Faction, Vol 1 by Steve Niles, Sin City, Vol. 1 by Frank Miller
The Wicked + the Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Summary: Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and Phonogram reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.
Thoughts: People have been telling me to read this series for a long time, and for the most part I really loved it. The art is absolutely gorgeous, and I love mythology; the only thing that kept me from giving it a 5/5 is that I felt the storyline and world-building was distractedly disjointed at times. I’m definitely going to continue the series and see how it progresses though!
Readalikes: American Gods, Vol. 1 by Neil Gaiman, Hexed by Michael Alan Nelson, Noragami: Stray God by Toka Adachi
To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Summary: Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she’ll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn’t count on is that her mother’s obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy’s mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats.
Between her mom’s diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.
Thoughts: Y’all, I listened to this book on audio and legit had to pull over on the side of the road I was crying so hard. This book, I feel, is an underrated marvel. There are few body positive books out there in which I feel so seen, so this is IMMEDIATELY going on all my rec lists- sorry NOT SORRY.
Readalikes: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson, There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon
A Place for Us by Fatima Fahreen Mirza
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Summary: A Place for Us unfolds the lives of an Indian-American Muslim family, gathered together in their Californian hometown to celebrate the eldest daughter, Hadia’s, wedding – a match of love rather than tradition. It is here, on this momentous day, that Amar, the youngest of the siblings, reunites with his family for the first time in three years. Rafiq and Layla must now contend with the choices and betrayals that lead to their son’s estrangement – the reckoning of parents who strove to pass on their cultures and traditions to their children; and of children who in turn struggle to balance authenticity in themselves with loyalty to the home they came from.
In a narrative that spans decades and sees family life through the eyes of each member, A Place For Us charts the crucial moments in the family’s past, from the bonds that bring them together to the differences that pull them apart. And as siblings Hadia, Huda, and Amar attempt to carve out a life for themselves, they must reconcile their present culture with their parent’s faith, to tread a path between the old world and the new, and learn how the smallest decisions can lead to the deepest of betrayals
Thoughts: This book was a masterclass in multiple perspectives- I loved getting to see this family through different lenses, and the fact that this was a debut work AND the author is younger than me both wows me and makes me feel VERY inadequate. Some of the passages go on for longer than needed and there’s a few nitpicky things that kept it from 5 stars for me, but overall I loved this book and wholeheartedly recommend it!
Readalikes: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum, Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
The Mental Load: a Feminist Comic by Emma
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Summary: In her first book of comic strips, Emma reflects on social and feminist issues by means of simple line drawings, dissecting the mental load, ie all that invisible and unpaid organizing, list-making and planning women do to manage their lives, and the lives of their family members. Most of us carry some form of mental load–about our work, household responsibilities, financial obligations and personal life; but what makes up that burden and how it’s distributed within households and understood in offices is not always equal or fair. In her strips Emma deals with themes ranging from maternity leave (it is not a vacation!), domestic violence, the clitoris, the violence of the medical world on women during childbirth, and other feminist issues, and she does so in a straightforward way that is both hilarious and deadly serious.
Thoughts: This was recommended to me by a coworker, and I really enjoyed it! It’s a collection of various comics on topics from feminism to parenthood, and getting Emma’s French/European perspective helped to color my worldwide perspective of treatment of women worldwide. The art sometimes is just mediocre and some of the topics could have been handled in a better way, but overall this is a great pick for women and those who love women (so basically everyone). It really helps readers to think more critically about the world around them.
Readalikes: Commute: an Illustrated Memoir of Female Shame by Erin Williams, What Makes Girls Sick and Tired by Lucile de Pesloüan, Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal
Stargazing by Jen Wang
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Summary: When Moon’s family moves in next door to Christine’s, Moon goes from unlikely friend to best friend―maybe even the perfect friend. The girls share their favorite music videos, paint their toenails when Christine’s strict parents aren’t around, and make plans to enter the school talent show together. Moon even tells Christine her deepest secret: that she sometimes has visions of celestial beings who speak to her from the stars. Who reassure her that earth isn’t where she really belongs.
But when they’re least expecting it, catastrophe strikes. After relying on Moon for everything, can Christine find it in herself to be the friend Moon needs?
Thoughts: I loved loved LOVED Jen Wang’s The Prince and the Dressmaker, so I was chomping at the bit to check this one out. It’s a middle grade title, so there wasn’t as much nuance and complexity as I’m used to (it threw me off tbh) but this story and the characters in it cast a spell on readers; anyone who has been a tween will find something to connect with in this story.
Readalikes: Best Friends by Shannon Hale, Click by Kayla Miller, The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
Gideon Falls, Vol. 1: The Black Barn by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, & Dave Stewart
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Summary: The legend of the Black Barn tells of an otherworldly building that has appeared and reappeared throughout history, bringing death and madness in its wake. Now, its mystery ensnares and entwines the lives of two very different men. One: a young recluse, obsessed with finding hidden clues within the city’s trash. The other: a washed-up Catholic priest, finding his place in a small town that hides dark secrets. Neither of them are prepared for what’s inside the Black Barn.
Thoughts: I honestly don’t know what I read in this book- it’s the first volume in a series, so it was meant to do a lot of world-building and story-building, so I guess confusion is to be expected. I’m also VERY confused in regards to how I feel about it; I’m intrigued by the plot so far and the characters, but I don’t know if I like how they’re being executed/written right now. My interest is peaked enough, however, to pick up the next volume and see where this goes.
Readalikes: Outcast, Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him by Robert Kirkman, Infidel by Pornsak Pichetshote, Wytches, Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder
I read 4 books of the 10 I set out to read in my monthly TBR stack, so I’m not even going to bother with a TBR stack this month (let’s see how this goes). What did you read and love in October? Put them in the comments below!
Until next time!